Highland Presbyterian Church
April 16th, 2020
Hunkered Down Devotions
Matthew 28:16-20 (VOICE)
16 The eleven disciples, having spoken to the Marys, headed to Galilee, to the mountain where they were to meet Jesus. 17 When the disciples saw Jesus there, many of them fell down and worshiped, as Mary and the other Mary had done. But a few hung back. They were not sure (and who can blame them?). 18 Jesus came forward and addressed His beloved disciples.
Jesus: I am here speaking with all the authority of God, who has commanded Me to give you this commission: 19 Go out and make disciples in all the nations. Ceremonially wash them through baptism in the name of the triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 20 Then disciple them. Form them in the practices and postures that I have taught you, and show them how to follow the commands I have laid down for you. And I will be with you, day after day, to the end of the age.
The words of Jesus above, certainly verses 18-20, are some of the more famous that he ever spoke. Usually known as The Great Commission, they are the content of God’s call and charge on all of us that would seek to follow Jesus.
To believe in God, to be a disciple of Jesus, we are told, is to share the good news of Christ’s coming and to (in a more familiar translation) ‘go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’.
Whether we are always good at living into this call or not, it is not unfamiliar to us. If you have grown up in the church, or spent any significant amount of time in worship or study, you will know The Great Commission and it’s call on our lives. So, today, I am more interested in drawing our attention to the first two verses of our gospel passage, 28:16-17.
We pick up the story as the eleven disciples are headed Galilee, having been told by the Marys that Jesus would meet them there. And, of course, he does. When they see Jesus, we are told that many of them - immediately – fell down and worshipped him. Some of them did that, but not all of them. This translation says that a few hung back, unsure about worship. The NIV version renders it this way: When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
Some doubted, some weren’t sure, some worshipped right away. Some ran to Jesus, some hung back. Some through caution to the wind, but others weren’t so sure. The thing I want us all to hear and see today is what happens next.
We are told that then – as some are worshipping and some are doubting, as some ran towards him and others held back – that he addressed all of them, all of them, as his beloved disciples.
That is the message for us today. All of us are beloved – whether we are full of bluster or full of fear; whether we are ready to rush forward and worship or if we are hesitant and hang back. Wherever we find ourselves in this moment, we are beloved of God.
This also means that that call of God, given to us by Jesus Christ, that Great Commission, is for all of us as well. When we are full of hope, we are called to share and spread God’s love. When our hearts and minds are full of doubt, we are called to spread and share God’s love.
We are always beloved and we are always called to share that love – the love of God – with others, because it doesn’t depend on us, but rather rests on the faithful shoulders of our loving savior Jesus Christ.
Sharing God’s Love,
Prayer: Lord, help us to rush headlong into worship of you by what we say, what we do, and who we are. But thank you, Lord, that you love us and call to us even when we let fear and doubt get the best of us. Amen.